smell this: Clarins Eau Dynamisante

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I made my way to a Clarins counter to smell Eau Dynamisante a few months ago after it was featured on Garance DorΓ©’s site. This offering from the French skincare brand, launched in 1987, Β is evidently something of a cult classic with men and women alike in France. I can see why.

It opens with a bright citrus note that my nose associates hopelessly with pez but, maybe 10 minutes later (be sure to wait at least this before making your judgment), settles into a light, delicate leather scent with herbal and citrus backup singers. There is, in fact, no leather. What I perceive as leather is (relatively) sweet midnotes of ginseng and white tea hitting a patchouli basenote, then petit grain (the oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange plant) for brightness and rosemary to make things interesting. Patchouli is persistent on the skin and this lingers on me for many hours. Fades over time into a creamy white tea and patchouli accord that is to me in every way pleasant. I got some for myself.

No surprise from a skincare brand, it’s meant to be good for your skin as well, and follows basics of aromatherapy in its selection of essential oils. I can’t tell if it is making good on these claims…but these would be a bonus anyway. I’m inclined to trust in the ingredients and imagine it does have some subtle effect.

It’s hard to imagine putting too much of this on, it is so inoffensive and so light in formulation. At the same time it isn’t, like so many inoffensive fragrances, unforgivably bland. This leans slightly masculine, at least for the American market, but just slightly. This feels like a modern Eau Sauvage (which, for the record, I do not much like), and I would especially recommend it for a no-fuss, post-shave morning spritz.